Home Buying

Bill’s Home Buying Motto: The Nastier It Is, The More It Smells Like Money

Reading Time: 16 minutes

Bill Crespo has been in the real estate industry since the 1990s and after years focusing on new homes sales, he discovered the lucrative opportunities available with distressed home buying and investing in buy and hold rental properties, as well as fix and flips.

With his many years of experience through market fluctuations and various funding strategies, he is willing to offer guidance to new investors who might need some help in taking that initial leap. He is also interested in partnering with experienced investors who can help him take his real estate investing business to a new level.

Keep reading to learn more about his real estate investing tips, his optimistic mindset and his advice for mistakes to avoid.

The below graphic shows a summary of the deal he found on MyHouseDeals.

Home Buying

Listen to the audio below to hear all about his real estate investing adventures, plus…

  • What to look for when buying homes
  • Ways to educate yourself in real estate investing
  • The importance of creating a plan and sticking to it

NOTE: Bill is a premium member. He received a FULL refund of his upfront membership fees for simply doing a deal! Find out more about our premium membership here.

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Tell me a little about yourself…

What made you interested in real estate investing?

I’ve been in the real estate field for more than half of my life, since I was a youngin’ back in 1990. I was a salesman with Mercedes Homes, a renowned builder out here in Florida. Then I worked a while by myself as an investor, where I would put a contract on new unfinished homes, finish construction and sell for $30, $40, or $50 thousand dollars more to the eager market in Cape Coral. I did that for a ton of years, until the market crashed.

Was it difficult to take your first step in real estate investing?

The first time I actually bought an existing home as an investment… it wasn’t that difficult. We put a contract on it, and I knew the value of the property was higher than the price I was paying for it. Since I came from a real estate background, I knew about homes buying, about contracts and a little bit about financing, so it wasn’t that difficult.

The most difficult part in all my travels has been learning how to secure private money. That, to me, was a bit of a challenge because I’d never dealt with private money. I always dealt with banks. I learned about private money when the economy went down the drain.

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So you had to change your strategy when the market crashed?

Yes. We all know that the folks that have made a fortune, with the market going up and the market going down, have been the people that understood real estate and went to capitalize on the market changes. For me, I just had to find new ways to secure funding.

I’ve still got a long ways to go. I try to learn more every day. I’m 55 years old, and I’m always looking for opportunities to learn. There’s always something new out there, you know? I’m always in the market not only to buy homes, but to learn.

In your education about private money, how did that experience go from the beginning to acquiring funds?

Well, at first I started asking people, “Let me borrow this much money and I’ll give you money back.” What I found was that some of my friends wanted to lend me money, or would lend me the money, but they wanted to control the project. I’m like, “No, I’m controlling the project.”

It was a learning curve, from people that understand lending money to people who were just lending you as a friend. They’re two different things. I realized that there’s a whole world of private money folks out there.

My very first private money experience, with somebody that I didn’t know personally, happened because my wife’s a realtor. My wife was the agent on a condo purchase, and the lady on the listing said that she’d be willing to lend money. So, I called her up, made an appointment, sat with her and we had a great conversation. I got excited and nervous but I built up enough courage, and bought an investment home with her money. I actually did two of my projects with her money. Since then I’ve found other private lenders and the doors have been opened.

So, do you consider yourself a full time investor, at this point in your career?

Yes and no. Yes, because when the opportunities are there, I’m all in. I’m always scouring the internet. And now that I have the MyHousDeals website, I’m always looking. As for now, my bread and butter would be loans, but I wanna turn that into my second job, and make the purchasing of properties my first job… to live off strategic home buying, is basically my goal.

I don’t wanna just say, “Oh, I’m a full time investor.” I wanna have the terrain nicely prepared, so that my transition will be a smooth one. I’ve been around long enough to know you just don’t jump like that unless you have all your ducks in a row.

Right now, my wife and I have four houses. One of them we purchased through MyHouseDeals, your website. Which, is the one that we have in Ormond Beach, which we’re excited about. And then we have three others. One of them we live in.

And then, we also have a mobile home, believe it or not, that’s producing. I paid $10 grand for it. It’s in a really nice area, and we make $500 bucks a month off it. I don’t know where else you could put in $10 grand, and make $500 bucks a month.

How did you build up your education in real estate investing?

Honestly, it started in the market, in Cape Coral. I was VP of sales and marketing for a real estate company but always focusing on new homes rather than existing houses. I was so close minded and so gung ho about new homes. But then, I started to realize, that in Cape Coral at that time, the equity on homes was going bonkers. It was increasing by 20% every three to four months.

That’s when I decided to say, “You know what, I’m gonna put a contract myself on these properties.” Because the builders were making a killing with some of the spec homes. So, I’m like, “Why can’t I buy one?” So, that’s how I originally got into home buying.

I started to get my feet wet with flipping, but at first it was only with new homes. Then that translated into, “Wait a minute. People are buying these ugly little houses, and turning them into beautiful dolls, and making some good money.” I’m like, it’s not new, but you turn it into something new. You turn it into something attractive and worthwhile.

So then we actually purchased a little townhouse. Two bedroom, two bath, two story. I fixed it up. Got a couple guys to come in. It was a really nasty little house. Now I learned that the nastier they are, the more it smells like money.

So that’s your home buying motto… “The nastier they are, the more they smell like money!”?

I’m telling you, this townhome was nasty. It had cockroaches, dirty clothes, the carpet was… Oh, my God. My wife was scared to go in there at first. But, little by little, we got people to help us clean it out. It turned out to be such a beautiful property. We sold it in less than 30 days after listing it.

Although it took a while to close because I sold it to a pilot guy, and he couldn’t close on the deal. I said, “You know, forget it. I’ll give you your money back. I’m sorry, I can’t wait any longer.”

I canceled the deal and gave him his deposit back. And lo and behold, within two or three days after that a guy came in a paid us cash for the property.

So you like to learn as you go from experience?

Oh, yes. Shoot, I’m telling you. It’s something else, what each house teaches you. Plus, I love to read. I’ve been through fortune builders. Some of their seminars. I listen to stuff on the internet. I don’t believe everything I hear, but I listen to it, you know. When I listen to all the information out there, I compare it to eating fish… Fish is delicious, but you have to take the bones out. You gotta pick the stuff out.

And that’s how I catalog looking at all the real estate material available on the net. Based on my experience, and the little bit that I know, I determine, can this work? Would this work? That’s pretty much, in a nutshell, how all my experience has come to light.

Now I wanna ramp it up. I just need to learn how to accelerate this. Make it more repetitive. Make it more of a system where I can constantly have the money coming in, accelerate the home buying, then have the machinery and resources, to fix them and flip them.

So, I’m at the stage where I really wanna get together with somebody that’s willing to make money as well, and teach me. “Hey, Bill, this is the way we do this.”

So you’re looking for a partnership to help accelerate your growth?

Exactly. I’m willing to contribute my share, but want it to grow. I don’t want everything for me. Somebody else can make money. So long as I’m making money for my family, growing, and learning something that is really, really valuable. Why not invest in it? Why not? It would be dumb for me not to.

At this point in time, are you focusing more on flipping homes or more on buy and hold rental properties?

Right now we’re buying and holding. That doesn’t discard flipping, but I just bought a home the other day that’s more valuable as a rental. We paid $100 grand for it, cash. People were knocking on our door to buy it from me. “I’ll give you $125. I’ll give you $135.” I said, “No, I’m not gonna sell it.”

Because, when I finish that house that I bought for $100, I’m gonna be able to rent it for like $1,400 bucks. And, I’m building an apartment in the house. I’m gonna rent that for $700, $800. So, the amount of money I’m gonna be making on this house is gonna be crazy. I can’t give it up. My wife wants a Mercedes. But I said, “Baby, you’ll have your Mercedes when the houses are able to pay for it.”

So right now you’re investing your time and effort to reap the rewards in the future?

Exactly. Delayed gratification. We’ll get there. Then we can really afford the cars… and some vacations.

So how have the changes in your career affected you in a positive way or even a negative way?

I think that in our household, and with my family, we like to take whatever seems to be negative, and find the good within it. The setbacks just make me a little bit busier, a little bit crazier. So, that’s teaching me that I need an actual system. That teaches me that I need to, eventually, partner up with somebody that’s willing to do the work. It’s certainly teaching my wife and I that the things that we sat down and planned for, if we follow the script as we planned them out, they will happen.

So, overall it’s been a great experience. At the same time, there’s lots of inconveniences like having to clean the toilet or replace this or that, and certain things have been a little bit hard. So now, I just hire a guy and say, “Listen, tell me a price. Let’s do this.” I don’t wanna be picking up paint. I’m realizing my time is more valuable than running around picking up paint.

My time is more wisely spent getting the loans that I need to continue the projects. I do FHA, VA, statement loans, commercial loans, and all kinds of loans. So, I need to focus on that while at the same time our real estate business grows.

I’ve learned that there are growing pains when something is starting to be successful, so I have to adjust. I don’t see it as a negative. I see it as opportunities to turn negatives into positives and that’s what we’re trying to do. You can’t think negatively, because you won’t move forward. There’s only opportunities out there. That’s it.

When you were looking for properties on MyHouseDeals, what type of property were you looking for, specifically, before you purchased the one you found?

I was looking for exactly the kind of property I found. Something that was in a good place, and essentially, had a good price. See, in my mind… and many people don’t tell you this… you make money when you buy. So, the key is, what type of home are you buying? Where is it that you’re buying? I just saw another one here on MyHouseDeals that I would love to buy. It is the ugliest house in the nicest neighborhood. That’s my kind of house.

The property we bought in Ormond, is three miles from the beach. It is very close to the Daytona 500 track, which is very famous. It is also close to all the other beaches. To me, within itself, that’s a lot of value right there. So, I was looking for something like that. A home that I can turn around and either rent on a permanent basis, or use it with a new rental system, like AirBnB, or one of the other vacation rental sites.

So, I’m looking at getting into something like that, but I haven’t really done my research yet. I have listened to other people talk about renting their properties, and it seems to be a good deal. So, that’s something we might do with that house. But it needs attention. I might just fix it up, and if somebody turns around and tells me, “I’ll give you $200 grand for it.” I’ll take it and move on to buy another one.

So, that was the kind of property I was looking for. A property with some challenges.

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So specifically what kind of challenges are you facing with the property?

One of the challenges that we’ve faced, is that it’s out of my epicenter. My center of operations is in Orlando where I live. My business is still pretty local. The house is in Ormond Beach, so for example getting the grass cut, although it seems like something simple, has to be done and is a bit too far from my lawn guy in Orlando. So, I have to keep that in mind in the future. Is it close or is it far?

Here’s another challenge. I need to get somebody else that can fix houses. I need to have more than one group. So, it seems like a problem now. But it looks like an opportunity to meet somebody else in the business.

Were you aware that we actually have a vendor section on our MyHouseDeals page, underneath the resources, where our vendors go ahead and post their services?

See. Seems like a problem. I just found an opportunity.

So, how did you pull the comps for the property, and what were your resources?

Well my wife is a realtor and I used to be a realtor. I go into the county records, and I see what houses are going for. I don’t need to have a real estate license, although I used to have one. But, I can go into any county, and look at sales within the last year or last month. I look at all that, and I know, the numbers don’t lie.

The property had what I needed. I got it for the right price. And it’s in the right place. I look at potential increase. So, I’m really excited about that property. I think it’s gonna, in one way or another, it’s gonna pay us off big time.

Did you have to negotiate the price? And if so, what was your strategy to lowering it?

So, the house was listed at $110 and I got it for $105. But the house was listed for far more than that on other websites outside of MyHouseDeals. The other sites had it for around $145,000, so really it was a $40k discount

Since I’m an investor and I know what it takes to fix a house, I could have gone in there and told him, “Well, I need to fix this. I need to fix that.” But I didn’t feel like it was necessary for this house, although I could perhaps use that in the future.

How did you finance this specific property?

Private money.

And, were they able to finance 100% of it? Or, it was the normal 70%, and you have to finance the rest in regards closing and rehab?

Believe it or not, since it’s private, and we have helped him to make money, I financed everything 100%. It covered the repairs, the house, and the closing cost.

Were there any surprises throughout this process?

Honestly, no, and I hope not. Because, I haven’t really dug into the actual property. We’ve only turned the power on so far, and I’m busy with a property in Orlando. This property is a good hour from where I live, so it’ll be a challenge but also an opportunity to start expanding my reach.

Do you have any advice for the new investors that may be getting into real estate?

I think it would be to educate yourself. I told my son, who wants to be a doctor, who’s going to college right now at UCF, “Listen, everything’s in the books son. Everything you wanna know is in some book, somewhere. You just have to get in there, find out, read about it, study and learn it. I would say to any new investor, “You need to learn at least the minimum stuff. You need to learn what taxes are. You need to learn your terms, after repair value, etc… You need to learn.”

They have to learn as much as they can, yet be brave enough to take that first step when it comes. Because, most of us have a world of information, but yet, don’t take the first step. So, they don’t need to learn it all, just learn as much as you can. And, take that first step when the opportunity arises.

So basically, educate yourself, and then don’t be afraid to jump in?

If you’re too afraid to jump, grab somebody else’s hand. Ask for help. I would be willing to help someone, if they allow me to make a couple dollars. Why not. I don’t care. I don’t have to make all the money. I know people that don’t have to make all the money, but they love to help.

So, perhaps that person that’s afraid to jump can do what beginner skydivers do… they strap to somebody else.. and they jump. I know there are people out there that would be willing to give you a helping hand to get your first deal done, you know?

Anything else you’d like to add?

If I could be of any help, I would be delighted to be of use to anyone. Help them out. By talking to them, or helping by delivering a loan, doing something. I just wanna be out there … Put my name out there as someone that can be of help and assistance, be it home buying, or lending specifically. Wanna take that first step? Talk to me, man. I don’t mind sharing a couple minutes with someone. Try and help them make that money.

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Alex Farris Soares

Author: Alex Farris Soares

Alex is President of MyHouseDeals. Since 2006, he’s worked with real estate investors to bring them the marketing services and training they need to elevate their businesses and reach their goals. Alex is an avid customer advocate, enjoys affecting change in the REI and digital marketing industries, and promotes the values of entrepreneurship and innovation.